What to consider when introducing a chatbot to your ecommerce journey, for an omni-channel experience
We live in an age where answers and advice are expected instantly. As technology has advanced over the years, the ability to communicate instantaneously with companies and people across the world has come to the fore. The technology exists, and therefore, people have come to expect the answers they are looking for immediately, with a level of confidence around the accuracy of the response.
From a business standpoint, fulfilling this demand for answers solely with employees can be unworkable, both in terms of costs and logistics. For this reason, automated chatbots are becoming ever-present across the supporting websites of ecommerce and financial service businesses. But what exactly is a chatbot? And how can you integrate one into your ecommerce journey?
Defined as “a computer program that simulates and processes human conversation”, chatbot tools are progressing and evolving into more tailored solutions for niche businesses, tackling potential stumbling blocks in customer journeys that can be increasingly complex. The integration of a chatbot can alleviate conversion issues, if you plan out its execution.
Review Your Journey and Analytics
As with any new site feature, a formidable understanding of your starting point must be established. Scrutinise your online journey via analytics, ask yourself: at what point in the journey are users becoming confused or dropping off? Your analytics platform will unlock the answers. A review of the content and questions that are on the pages where you’re experiencing drop off, in turn provides you with the questions that need to be answered.
By adding a non-intrusive chatbot across your journey, and including query solutions that defuse the users’ confusion, you should see an increase in conversion. Your customer journey will evolve over time, so the support you provide to customers must evolve too. Any time you change anything in the customer journey, it’s vital to go back and review the analytics to identify potential risks.
What are your customers telling you? A moderately successful business could be dealing with hundreds or even thousands of customer queries every day. Are you monitoring what they are telling you? There will be trends in the difficulties they are having, or the preferences they express. Voice analytics, anecdotal feedback, or NPS surveys all provide you with clues as to how your customers rate their experience during your online journey.
The information you’ll input into your chatbot in terms of the canned responses will be largely driven by the feedback you’ll receive from existing customers. If your existing customers are having an issue somewhere along the journey, then chances are, a new customer will too. The better informed you are about your customers, the easier it’ll be to populate the responses of the chatbot. With that in mind, it’d be in your best interest to make your customer feedback channels as easy to operate as possible. With as many as 40% of standard customer surveys now being conducted on mobile, something as simple as ensuring your survey or feedback platform is mobile optimised can make all the difference.
How does it fit with your Omni-channel approach?
You know your brand and your business best. There’ll be many moving parts to it. Automated emails, call centre activity, direct marketing, and brand marketing. All these things create a perception of your brand for a prospective customer. Businesses at the forefront of ecommerce tend to adopt an omni-channel approach, so as to seamlessly transition customers through channels while retaining a consistent message and level of satisfaction. According to one study, 90% of customers prefer to use messengers like chatbots for connecting with a business.
This level of understanding on what the customer actually wants, allows you to shape your other communication platforms around this. It may be best for your business to retain traditional methods like phone calls, SMS messages, and push notifications when reaching out to a customer, but with research showing that customers prefer to use messengers when they are reaching out to a business, it’d be in that business’ interest to ensure that option is easily available.
While some employers are concerned about the lack of human touch being detrimental to customer experience, another study showed that most users are indifferent towards a chatbot having a personality, so long as their issue is solved. As popular as the likes of Alexa and Siri are, it’s a stark reminder that solving the user issue in alignment with an omni-channel approach should be the main priority.
And in the future?
Innovation and improvement. Your business will continue to change, your communication tools must follow suit to keep up with the competition. The standard website integrated chatbot for some businesses may be complemented by a WhatsApp or Facebook based chatbot. With these platforms being so universally accessible, it stands to reason that users may feel more comfortable engaging via that channel. Facebook messenger already has over 350,000 chatbots, and big brands like Netflix and KLM utilise a WhatsApp chatbot, so you may find that this becomes the norm in years to come. When it comes to the financial sector, however, a tailored chatbot solution is the best for most businesses, as features can better accommodate the user journey.
At Ibby, we’re integrating chatbots with Open Banking and co-browsing technology, so you can go beyond the basics of chatbot functionality and really maximise results with messaging and Intelligent Automation.
Although not a pre-requisite for use, voice activated search is expected to increase too, with 250 million people estimated to be using smart speakers by 2020. Beyond that, the sky is the limit. Technology converges and the boundaries continue to be pushed. The objective will always be to solve a user issue as swiftly and as comprehensively as possible, while keeping costs for businesses at a manageable rate throughout.